Toyota has a new president: The founder’s grandson is stepping down as CEO

Toyota has a new president: The founder’s grandson is stepping down as CEO

At the helm since 2009, Akio Toyoda begins working as a consultant for the automaker; Koji Sato will be his replacement

Toyota has a new president and CEO: Koji Sato. The executive, who currently oversees Lexus and the Gazoo Racing sports division, replaces Akio Toyoda. He led since 2009Toyoda, the grandson of the founder of the Japanese company, becomes the director of the company.

Sato takes over as Toyota’s new president and CEO in 1The April, the company said in a statement. On the same date, Toyota will become the chairman of the board of the company founded by his grandfather.

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With that, Takeshi Uchiyamada, considered the “father of the Prius” because of his role in the development of the hybrid, is leaving the presidency of the board. He, however, remains on the board of the original Japanese company.

The Chairman and CEO of Toyota faced many conflicts

Akio Toyoda is 66 years old and is the grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda – he is responsible for transforming Toyoda Loom Works into what we know today as Toyota Motor Corporation. He is the son of Shoichiro Toyoda, who was also the president of the family company from 1982 to 1992.

Akio, on the other hand, took over in 2009 and had to face many challenges. In addition to the difficult time that he found the company, the executive also faced the global financial crisis, a recalling more than 20 million vehicles for auto repair it is 2011 Japan earthquake – which jeopardized the operations of companies located in the country.

With Akio Toyoda at the helm, Toyota faced these challenges and cemented its status as the world’s largest car manufacturer. However, a restructuring in the company’s organizational chart had been discussed for some time.

“I think in the last 13 years I have built a solid foundation to pass the baton,” Toyoda said at a press conference shortly after announcing that he would step down as president. For him, the new CEO “is committed to transforming Toyota into a mobility company”.

Toyota’s new CEO and the power supply challenge

Toyoda also said that the automaker needs a young person to complete the aforementioned mission. Koji Sato, the new president and CEO of Toyota is 53 years old.

Currently, Sato heads the operations of Lexus, the company’s luxury division, and Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s sports arm. The latter is a favorite of Akio Toyoda.

Koji Sato takes the helm at an important time for Toyota. Under the command of Akio Toyoda, the company was constantly under attack for its strategies in the topic of autonomous driving and, in particular, electrification.

Toyota took a long time to embrace electric vehicles, holding onto the hybrid technology of the Prius – one of its best songs. The company also started selling the idea of ​​cars powered by hydrogen cells, going against successful cases like Tesla.

The emphasis on the two technologies was causing discomfort among investors as well as among environmental activists. It is worth noting that Toyota was the big star of these figures because of the Prius.

In addition to chasing rivals in the electrification process, Toyota’s new president and CEO will have to come up with a clear plan for a carbon-free future. It will also have to face stiff competition from Chinese automakers and new players from Silicon Valley.

Profile of the new CEO

Sato, however, is an executive known for not being afraid of change. So much so that he made major changes to Lexus Racing and Gazoo.

An engineering graduate of Waseda University, Koji Sato joined Toyota in 1992. At Lexus, as an engineer, he oversaw the development of the iconic Lexus LC.

Although he is small and strong, Sato has been working closely with Akio Toyoda, and shares many management ideas with him. No wonder he was chosen as his replacement.

In an interview last year, Sato said that Toyoda “is the guide who shows the team the vision and philosophy of the brand.” He also said that Akio’s leadership was very important to the company.